It's bright and sunny and arguably too warm at the moment. Despite this, I'm happy to bring updates from the menagerie.
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We have welcomed two lovely litters into the rattery this month. The first was from one of our unmarked Cinnamon does, Ulyssa, with a litter size of 9 on the 10th of June. The second was from one of our unmarked Pearl does, Iona, today on the 16th of June. I haven't rummaged around in Iona's nest yet, so details are to follow. Ulyssa's nest is looking like a good variety of Agouti based kits. If you've followed from the first update in May, you will know that these litters + an expected litter from our Cinnamon dumbo Juju, were bred with the intention to grow on some kits for a show at Houten Exoknaag in September.
How well my eventual keepers will do at the show will dictate whether or not I attempt to show them in the UK as well. Being new to showing rats specifically, it's a bit of a daunting prospect!
Our only litter of the year has been born! On the 6th of June we heard squeaky babies noises.
7 kits to Niamh, which is a fantastic number for a first litter. Originally one was very poor in condition and "went missing" from the nest, presumed an FTT and that Niamh had eaten it. As it transpires she had just put it to the bottom of the nest and it emerged two days later as big and healthy as the rest. It's not certain who will stay or not, but reservations for the kits that are available will open between the 4th - 18th of July.
While it may seem like a long period of time, it's purely so that we're sure of our decision. It's possible that it will be extended into August.
The kits turn 8 weeks on the 1st of August, which is when they're ready to leave.
The Hatchery // The Flock
WE HAVE DUCKS. I REPEAT. DUCKLINGS HAVE LANDED.
These are my first ever birds that I've hatched myself so it's very exciting for me. I've wanted to hatch out my own birds since I was 5, so an almost quarter of a decade dream come true.
I kept a small diary of events as follows:
18th May - 8 eggs from the Indian Runners into the incubator
25th May - First candling. 6 showed veins, 2 didn't.
4th June - Second candling. 4 showed movement, 2 didn't but I left them in the incubator anyway.
13th June - 1st hatchling (Quiche)
14th June - 2nd hatchling (Custard)
15th June - 3rd hatchling (Omelette)
16th June - 4th hatchling (Souffle)
From left to right: Quiche, Custard, and Omelette.
On writing this post, Souffle has just come out of the incubator and is settling into the brooder. But her colour is looking a lot different from the others. I say "her", but I'm unsure on sexes at the moment (and will be for a while)
I'm unsure 100% what my plans are for these creatures. Our duck pen is vacant for the most part, so the opportunity to grow them on is there. But ultimately, runners aren't the breed I would choose to work with permanently. If I did, I would opt to produce to show standard.
They would make fantastic foragers for our garden, so I think I'll just see what the next few weeks brings and go from there.
These ducklings are fantastic (outdoor) pets and have brought me so much joy in the last month with the hatching journey. They're currently indoors whilst in the brooder and they will move outside in about 4 weeks.
It has been a huge learning curve for everyone involved (so, just me), but it's already been really rewarding. I'm still waiting for the other two to hatch, but my outlook isn't very positive. I will wait another 48 hours and monitor for movement.